Monday, June 29, 2015

Craft It - 4th of July Individual Piñatas

With the 4th of July fast approaching this weekend, I thought these little individual piñatas would be fun for the kids to enjoy during the festivities. They would look super cute strung up as decorations or as centerpieces on the picnic table during your celebration.

The best part is that they are pretty easy to make and the kids love them! To make your own you will need some paper cups, tissue paper, card stock, ribbon, a glue stick, any decorative pieces (like the firework pick or flag pinwheel), and of course the piñata stuffing (candy, toys, confetti, etc.).

First you will need to trace your cup size on the card stock and the tissue paper. You will want the tissue paper to be cut slightly bigger than the top edge of the cup and the card stock should be slightly smaller so that it can fit inside the cup.

Once your pieces are cut, you will need to punch two holes in both the tissue paper and card stock. Using these holes, thread your string or curling ribbon through both pieces like so.

Now put these aside and fill your cup with your surprises.  I went with red, white, and blue candies.

 Now it is time to assemble your piñata. Run your glue stick around the top edge of the cup and stick your tissue paper to the glue making sure that the card stock is inside the cup and the tissue paper is facing out. Once this is done, you will need to let the glue dry.

Once dry, you can flip the cup over and add your decorations. I used a firework cupcake pick and a flag pinwheel to decorate mine.

I had my daughter open one up to show you how they work, but don't mind her expressionless face!

 The kids just pull on the string that is hanging from the bottom of the cup (the one that goes through the card stock and tissue paper and is sticking out at the bottom) and their prizes will fly out. It is so much easier for the young kids than trying to break open the real thing. And their goodies are already portion controlled!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Cook It - Breaded Pesto Chicken

Most of the time my kids don't eat much dinner. Either they are full by the end of the day or just don't want to eat what I made. When I am looking for a full proof dinner that I know my kids will eat, I go for this baked breaded pesto chicken. It is super easy to make and makes for some moist flavorful chicken.

To make the chicken for your self, you will need some pounded out chicken breasts, basil pesto (I like the Buitoni brand), and some Italian seasoned bread crumbs.

First you will take your pounded out chicken breast and coat it in the pesto. I like to pound my chicken in a large plastic bag to make clean up easier. I use the flat side of my meat tenderizer, but you can use a can of beans or similar also.

To put the pesto on my chicken, I just put a few scoops into the plastic bag and then use my hands to make sure the chicken gets nice and coated.

Then it is time to add the breadcrumbs. Because of the seasoning in the pesto and the breadcrumbs, I don't find it necessary to add any salt, but I do occasionally add some fresh pepper and garlic powder.

Once your chicken is coated on both sides with breadcrumbs, lay them out on an elevated rack over a baking sheet like so.

This way the breading doesn't get too mushy on the underside. Then I bake at 400F until golden and the juices run clear. The time will vary depending on the thickness of your chicken, but for mine it was about 20-25 minutes.

I like to serve the chicken with some sauteed veggies and a side of pasta. Here I have it paired with spinach artichoke ravioli with pesto sauce and some tomatoes and zucchini from my garden. This recipe also works well pan fried in some vegetable oil. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Make It - A No Sew Pineapple Pillow

I was feeling like my guest bedroom needed one more pillow to add to the two summery clearance pillows I picked up at Target this past weekend and thought a fun pineapple pillow was just the ticket.

To make your own fun no sew pineapple pillow you will need:

  • Fabric ( I re-purposed this table cloth from Target for my fabric)
  • An iron on pineapple decal (I used my vinyl cutter (like the Silhouette Cameo) and white vinyl like this to create my design, but you can buy a pre-made decal or hand cut your own if you don't own and vinyl cutter)
  • Heat and Bond ultra hold seam tape (I picked up mine at Joann Fabrics)
  • An Iron and a scrap piece of fabric
  • A pillow insert of your choice

The pillow insert that I purchased was 18" by 18", so I cut my fabric to that same size so that I could create a plump pillow. I used my ruler to mark the fabric in the size that I needed and then cut out two pieces of the fabric in the 18" by 18" size.

Once my fabric was cut, I used my vinyl cutter to cut my pineapple design into my canvas. If you don't have a vinyl cutter, you can look on etsy for some all ready made vinyl decals to use, or you can use a pineapple stencil and some acrylic craft paint like Martha Stewart's line of paint to create a pineapple print on your fabric. If you are artistic, you can use the iron on vinyl and an X-acto knife to cut your own pineapple design in the vinyl. Here is the pineapple image I used in case you need it.

After my vinyl was cut and the extra vinyl around the pineapple was removed, I placed my vinyl in the center of one side of my fabric.

To iron on the image, I first placed my piece of scrap fabric over the decal and then used the highest setting on my iron. You will need to push hard on the fabric and iron for 30 seconds on each section of the decal.

Once the fabric is cool, try to slowly peel the side of the plastic backing away from the pillow. The vinyl should remain on the fabric. If it doesn't, you will need to put the plastic back down and iron again. Repeat this process until the vinyl stays on the fabric. Just remember to let the fabric cool before peeling the backing away.

Now that your image is on the pillow, is it time to seal the edges. Iron the Heat and Bond tape around the edges of the fabric (on the outside of the fabric) according to the package directions. You will not need to have the iron on the tape for more than a couple seconds.

Once the tape is ironed on and cooled, gently peel the paper backing away and place the other piece of your fabric on the pineapple piece. Making sure the outside of fabrics are facing each other. Now your will need to iron the edges of the fabric together to seal them. Make sure to leave one side of the case open so that you can insert the pillow.

Once your sides are sealed and the fabric has cooled, you can turn your case inside out and insert the pillow. Then pin the last side seam together and gently iron it to seal the pillow closed. While the Heat and Bond is hot, it will not hold the seam closed (that is why you need the pins), so be sure to wait until it is cooled to remove the pins from your pillow.

And that is it. You now have a fun summer pillow to add to your bed or couch.

If you have a sewing machine, you could easily sew the pillow instead, but even if you don't you can still make fun custom pillows for your home! This project was so fun and quick, that I think some fun holiday themed pillows might be in my future.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Craft It - A Brass Himmeli Succulent Necklace

Have you ever seen Himmeli wall art? I made some fun pieces for my living room and hope to have a craft night with some of my friends to make some other fun Himmeli pieces. This little necklace is a take on the larger Himmeli air plant hangers that are all over Pinterest. I definitely think these necklaces will be a fun addition to the crafty goings on at the next girls night.

To make your own necklace you will need the following supplies:

  • Brass tubing appx. 1/8" in diameter and 12" long ( I picked mine up from Hobby Lobby in the hobby section)
  • Thin gold wire (also from Hobby Lobby)
  • gold jump rings and chain to make the necklace your desired length
  • piece of faux succulent or a small air plant
  • wire cutters
  • pliers
  • marker
First you will need to measure and cut your tubing. You will need 6 - 1" pieces and 3 - 2" pieces. I used a ruler and the marker to mark the cut lines and then used the wire strippers/cutters to gently cut the tubing taking care not to smash it. You want to be able to still see the round opening through the tube. If you press to hard to cut the tubes, then you will seal the ends shut and not be able to thread them on your wire.

Once your tubes are cut, you will thread three small 1" pieces onto the gold wire like so.

You will then fold the wire sticking out of the end of the last tube through the beginning of the first tube to create a triangle.

Now you will add two more small tubes to the open end of the wire and thread it through one of the neighboring holes to create another triangle.

At this point you should have two triangles attached to each other with both wire ends sticking out of the same end. 

On goes the last small tube and the wire gets threaded back through the opposite side to create your 3D triangle base.

Next two of the long pieces get put on the wire and it then gets threaded through one adjacent side to create a longer triangle.

At this point you should have both wires stick out of the same end again. You will thread the last large tube onto the wires and wrap them around the point of the large triangle and tuck them into one of the end tubes to create your large 3D triangle piece.

Now all that is left is to add your jump ring and jewelry chain to the charm and then place your faux succulent or mini air plant into the open space in the center of your brass himmeli prism. Now you have a fun brass planter that you can wear around your neck! If you want you can also insert a crystal or raw gemstone into the center of the prism before closing up the large triangle piece to create a fun boho necklace. One you get comfortable with the tubes and threading them on, the geometric shapes are endless. Just have fun and play around with it!